As the third-largest country in the world, witnessing the country’s greatest buildings and architectural feats can feel challenging. With so much to see in the country, knowing where to start might feel daunting as go on making your travel plans.
If you’re the type who’s interested in towering skyscrapers, large structures, and stunning structures, luckily, a huge portion of the country’s most iconic architecture are found in the following cities:
If you want to witness the world’s most astonishing buildings, then New York is the city that you should head to. Check out when’s the best time for tourists to visit Manhattan.
There are numerous architectural standouts in the midtown such as the Chrysler Building, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, New York Public Library, the Chrysler Building, and of course, the iconic Empire State Building. This art deco masterpiece is the work of architects Shreve, Lamb and Harmon who welcomed it as the world’s tallest building when it first opened in 1931.
The Empire State held the record until 1972, standing at 102 stories, and 1,250 feet tall. Marvel at the city’s panoramic views at the open-air deck on the 86th floor, as well as a windowed lookout at the 102nd floor.
You’ll also find the Rose Center for Earth and Space on the Upper West Side, while the famous MET or The Metropolitan Museum of Art is found on the upper east side. As you explore on the southern part of the island, you’d come across the famous Brooklyn Bridge and the Flatiron Building.
If the jam-packed Big Apple isn’t your thing, then head over to DC and marvel at the grand monuments and historical buildings. The country is known to be a cultural melting pot, and it’s capital, Washington DC, has an international blend.
Not only you can see the monuments of the country’s founding fathers, exceptional leaders, and memorials to national events, but the design of these public buildings and structures are truly exceptional.
What’s also great about this is that you can find several monuments in a hyper-condensed area. For instance, the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, the Jefferson Memorial, and Vietnam Memorial are all just walking a distance with each other.
You can also see the White House from the Washington Monument. This sprawling 55,000 square feet mansion was designed by Irish architect James Hoban. Guided tours are free, but they still must be requested through the appropriate embassy if you’re an international visitor.
Same as the White House, the neoclassical Capitol Building was first built around the 1800s. Admission to the facility is free, but for guided tours, passes are needed in advance.
Also, just a short 20-minute drive north, you can check out the Washington National Cathedral, known to be the second-largest church in the US.
Because of the Great Chicago Fire in 1871, local architects back in the day have traded wood with steel, and thus the inception of the first few modern high-rises. The trend continued to rise even up to this day, and evident on the city’s recognizable skyline.
Catch a boat on the Chicago River as you go on a 90-minute guided river cruise, passing along the famous corn cob-shaped Marina towers and other notable buildings. Head over to Adler Planetarium’s lakeshore paths for endless panoramic views of the city.
Art Institute of Chicago is another masterpiece and offers one of the grandest displays of art in the country. You can also check out the iconic “Cloud Gate” sculpture, also known as the “The Bean” in the Millennium Park nearby.
San Francisco, California
The city of San Francisco continues to be an architectural mainstay, mostly due to its famous Victorian buildings. While most of its homes already have renovated interiors, the city managed to retain its old charm mostly because of how these Victorians contrasted with its natural surroundings.
If you’re in the mood for a drive when you’re in the Bay Area, head off to the famous Golden Gate Bridge so that you can head off exploring the beautiful Marin Headlands. It’s worth noting that Golden Bridge is a beautiful suspension bridge that has become one of the country’s architectural icons ever since its completion in 1937.
Also, if you’re in the city’s downtown area, don’t miss out the historic Fairmont Hotel, and the triangular Transamerica Pyramid. Finally, the Giants Stadium is also worth a visit whether you’re an avid baseball fan or not.
Newport, Rhode Island
Newport is known for its grand mansions, stunning colonial architecture, and vibrant music festivals during the summer season. In fact, Newport, Rhode Island was once a top vacation spot for the rich and famous, with what Mark Twain called America’s Gilded Age.
Today, you can tour America’s historic, and grand mansions of the 20th century. This quaint town is filled with colonial architecture, as well as several “firsts” in the country like the Touro Synagogue, a national historic site, and the oldest synagogue in the US.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Once you see how the sun casts its lights and shadows on the pueblo architecture of Santa Fe, New Mexico, you’ll easily know why artists and architects consider this as a go-to place for design and inspiration.
A lot of the city’s adobe structures are interwoven with museums and galleries, which easily imbues creative energy in the place. While on your way to the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, don’t forget to drop by the Plaza.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Known as “The Strip,” Las Vegas is home to the country’ most diverse buildings. There’s the Venetian, that’s inspired by the architecture of Venice. There are all of these themed hotels found in the city center.
Then, there are buildings like the Wynn, Treasure Island, Bellagio, and The Palazzo. Las Vegas certainly has one of the most interesting buildings in the world.
The United States has a lot of interesting cities with interesting architecture to see. As you plan your upcoming trip marveling on the country’s best architectural wonders, don’t forget to put these great American cities on top of your must-see list.